Illini Hold On For Stunning 68-66 Upset Of No. 20 Iowa
Jalen Coleman-Lands scored 17 points and Malcolm Hill broke a tie with a 16-foot jumper with 1:14 to go Thursday, helping Illinois fend off No. 20 Iowa's frantic comeback for a stunning 68-66 upset in the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis.
The Fighting Illini (15-18) won for only the second time in six games - this one after allowing the Hawkeyes (21-10) to score 11 straight points in 98 seconds to tie the score at 66 with 1:40 to play.
Hill gave Illinois the lead with his mid-range jumper and the struggling Hawkeyes didn't score again.
Illinois faces No. 13 Purdue in Friday's quarterfinals, starting at 1:30 p.m, CST. The Illini beat the Boilermakers in their lone regular season meeting on January 10th, 84-70 in Champaign.
"I had an awful game, probably one of my worst games of the year," Hill said after making only 2 of 9 shots. "To be able to know my teammates and coaches have confidence to give me the ball in that situation, it makes it that much easier to make plays for this team."
Junior guard Kendrick Nunn, who scored 16 points for the Illini, says his team has gotten this far by sharing the ball on offense.
"I think that's a big part of how we should play --- playing the game the right way," said Nunn. "We got good players on the floor, and just by sharing the ball, you can make other guys better. And that's what we did."
"We played ridiculously hard," coach John Groce said.
For Coleman-Lands, the Big Ten tournament represented a chance for a fresh start after a troubled season.
“We’ve been through a lot this season," said Coleman-Lands. "I feel like now, having that clean slate we actually can put to use what we’ve learned. And being that everybody’s zero-zero we’ve got a clean slate to show people that.”
Iowa was led by Peter Jok, who tied his career high with 29 points before fouling out. Jarrod Uhthoff scored 21 points as the Hawkeyes lost five of their last six.
(Additional reporting by Rob McColley, Brian Moline and Patrick Smith).